Milestone-Proposal:Nobeyama 45-m Telescope

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Docket #:2015-06

This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) will be located agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

Nobeyama 45-m Telescope, 1982

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

In 1982, the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation completed the 45-m telescope as the world’s largest antenna for millimeter-wave radio astronomy. The 45-m telescope's innovative engineering contributed to the progress of radio astronomy by enabling high-resolution and high-sensitivity observations. Notable discoveries included new interstellar molecules and a black hole.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Tokyo Section

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: IEEE Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Kazuo HAGIMOTO

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Kazuo HAGIMOTO

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: IEEE Tokyo Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Kazuo HAGIMOTO

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Masao Saito
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

1. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

   2-21-1, Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan
   Coordinates: 139.5379, +35.6752

2. Nobeyama Radio Observatory, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

   462-2, Nobeyama, Minamimaki, Minamisaku, Nagano 384-1305, Japan
   Coordinates: 138.4725, +35.94444

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. 1. The site is in the headquarter campus of National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

2. The site is in the campus of Nobeyama Radio Observatory where the 45-m telescope was built, and it is used today. It is owned by National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

1. In the exhibition room in the headquarter campus.

2. At the foot of the telescope inside the fence.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

1. The place is in the visitor course inside the campus and the site is in a room.

2. The place is in the visitor course inside the campus and the site is within the fence that surrounds the 45-m telescope.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

Built in 1982 as the largest millimeter telescope for radio astronomy Providing High resolution and high sensitivity observational capability to astronomers all over the world Contributed to the progress of astrophysics and interstellar chemistry Observed emission from molecules, masers, and plasmas in the universe. Providing the deep insight of interstellar matter in our galaxy or extra-galaxies including discovery of a black hole or detection of bio molecules.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

The 45-m telescope has its diameter larger by a factor of 4 than the previous millimeter telescopes. The major obstacles were pointing and surface accuracy. Regarding the former one, very precise pointing and tracking performance was achieved by a special encoder whose structure is independent from the telescope structure. The latter one, gravitational deformation is minimized by adopting so-called homologous design and thermal deformation is suppressed by installing fans inside the back up structure and making aluminum honeycomb sandwich panels with low-thermal expansion material CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic).

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

Radio Spectra of fine structures of various astronomical objects have been taken. Several new molecules were identified in the universe. High velocity water vapor emission from the galaxy center was detected leading to firm evidence of presence of a black hole with later high-angular observations Methyl amine, potential precursor of amino acid glycine, was found to be rich in some star forming regions suggesting that biomolecules such as amino acids form in the universe. More than 3 million visitors have come to the Nobeyama Radio Observatory mainly to see the Nobeyama 45-m telescope since its opening in 1982.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

Contents of references are separately emailed. [1] Akabane, K., “A large millimeter wave antenna”, 1983 International Journal of Infrared and Millimeter Waves, 4, 793 [2] Sofue, Y. Handa, T. “A radio lobe over the galactic centre”, 1984, Nature, 310, 568 [3] Kaifu, N.; Hasegawa, T.; Morimoto, M.; Inatani, J.; Nagane, K.; Miyazawa, K.; Chikada, Y.; Kanzawa, T.; Akabane, K.; Suzuki, S., “Rotating gas disk around L1551 IRS-5”, 1984 Astronomy and Astrophysics, 134,7 [4] Fuerst, E.; Reich, W.; Reich, P.; Sofue, Y.; Handa, T. “A new non-thermal galactic radio source with a possible binary system”, 1985 Nature, 314, 720 [5] Kato, T., Tabara, H., Inoue, M., Aizu, K. “Extragalactic Radio Sources with Very Large Farady Rotation”, 1987, Nature, 329, 223 [6] Nakai, N.; Hayashi, M.; Handa, T.; Sofue, Y.; Hasegawa, T.; Sasaki, M., “A nuclear molecular ring and gas outflow in the galaxy M82”, 1987 Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, 39, 685 [7] Handa, T.; Sofue, Y.; Nakai, N.; Hirabayashi, H.; Inoue, M., “A radio continuum survey of the Galactic plane at 10 GHz”, 1987 Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, 39, 709 [8] Ohishi, M.; Kaifu, N.; Kawaguchi, K.; Murakami, A.; Saito, S.; Yamamoto, S.; Ishikawa, S.; Fujita, Y.; Shiratori, Y.; Irvine, W. M., “Detection of a new circumstellar carbon chain molecule, C4Si”, 1989 Astrophysical Journal, 345L, 83 [9] Tatematsu, K.; Umemoto, T.; Kameya, O.; Hirano, N.; Hasegawa, T.; Hayashi, M.; Iwata, T.; Kaifu, N.; Mikami, H.; Murata, Y.; Nakano, M.; Nakano, T.; Ohashi, N.; Sunada, K.; Takaba, H.; Yamamoto, S., “Molecular cloud cores in the Orion A cloud. I - Nobeyama CS (1-0) survey”, 1993 Astrophysical Journal, 404, 643 [10] Nakai, N.; Inoue, M.; Miyoshi, M., “Extremely-high-velocity H2O maser emission in the galaxy NGC4258”, 1993 Natur.361, 45 [11] Ukita, N. ; Tsuboi, M., “A 45-m telescope with a surface accuracy of 65 μm”, 1994, Proceedings of the IEEE, 82 , 725 [12] Mizuno, A., Onishi, T., Hayashi, M., Ohashi, N., Sunada, K., Hasegawa, T., and Fukui, Y.: “Molecular Cloud Condensation as a Tracer of Low Mass Star Formation”, 1994, Nature, 368, 719 [13] Kawaguchi, K.; Kasai, Y.; Ishikawa, S.; Kaifu, N., “A Spectral-Line Survey Observation of IRC +10216 between 28 and 50 GHz”, 1995 Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, 47, 853 [14] Tsuboi, M.; Handa, T.; Ukita, N., “Dense Molecular Clouds in the Galactic Center Region. I. Observations and Data”, 1999 Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 120, 1 [15] Onishi, T.; Mizuno, A.; Kawamura, A.; Tachihara, K.; Fukui, Y., “A Complete Search for Dense Cloud Cores in Taurus”, 2002 Astrophysical Journal, 575, 950 [16] Furuya, Ray S.; Kitamura, Y.; Wootten, A.; Claussen, M. J.; Kawabe, R., “Water Maser Survey toward Low-Mass Young Stellar Objects in the Northern Sky with the Nobeyama 45 Meter Telescope and the Very Large Array”, 2003 Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 144, 71 [17] Kuno, N.; Sato, N.; Nakanishi, H.; Hirota, A.; Tosaki, T.; Shioya, Y.; Sorai, K.; Nakai, N.; Nishiyama, K.; Vila-Vilaró, B., “Nobeyama CO Atlas of Nearby Spiral Galaxies: Distribution of Molecular Gas in Barred and Nonbarred Spiral Galaxies”, 2007 Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, 59, 117 Additional References of the Nobeyama 45-m Telescope’s social impacts [A1] UNKNOWN THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE ARE CAUGHT, 36 Spectral Lines Simultaneously, Nobeyama Radio Telescope, Yomiuri Newspaper, Aug. 14, 1982. [A2] INTERSTELLAR MOLECULES NOT PRESENT ON THE EARTH, Discoveries with the Nobeyama Radio Telescope, Asahi Newspaper, Jan. 10, 1987. [A3] EVIDENCE OF BLACKHOLE IN CENTER OF GALAXY, Discoveries of Super High Velocity Molecular Gas, A Galaxy 22 million light years Away, Nobeyama Observatory, Mainichi Newspaper, Jan. 7, 1993. [A4] PRESENCE OF PRE AMINO ACID THINGS IN INTERSTELLAR SPACE, Discoveries by National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Nikkei Newspaper, Sep. 11, 2014. [A5] Column (more than 3 million visitors to the Nobeyama Observatory), Shinmai Newspaper, Oct. 18, 2013.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Media:2015_Nobeyama45m_at_a_glance.pdf Media:Nobeyama45m_supporting_material.pdf

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

Please recommend reviewers by emailing their names and email addresses to Please include the docket number and brief title of your proposal in the subject line of all emails.